What an absolute delight this book is! Full to the brim of adventure, courage and heart. I had to finish it in one glorious attention-rapt session.
Syms Covington is a crew member of the HMS Beagle, famed for it most famous scientific passenger, Mr Charles Darwin. Being an orphan, Syms joins the crew first as a cabin boy and fiddler then moving up to become assistant to the great man himself. It is during their fateful trip to the Galapagos Island where our story begins. Whilst racing on the backs of giant tortoises a storm closes in quickly and makes escaping the island a trial.
During the race back to the Beagle, a huge storm wave knocks Darwin out of the rowboat and while trying to save him, Syms loses his place on the boat and becomes stranded on a strange island. Danger lurks above in the form of a highly active volcano and below in the tunnels formed by lava reaching towards the sea. Attempting to remember his survival skills, Syms finds himself face to face with a large reptile with bronze coloured eyes. Affectionately naming him Farthing, Syms finds the reptile to be friendly, inquisitive and able to sense danger. An extraordinary find, Syms almost wishes Darwin could see the reptile for himself.
Set amidst Darwin’s revolutionary views and theories, this story reads like a version of history plucked from his journals. It reads true and feels real while extraordinary events and creatures appear that we know to be mythical.
This thrilling adventure will warm your heart as you follow the journey of Syms and Farthing, make new discoveries and race against time to survive and save a species. Syms is dedicated, honest and courageous, proven over and over again in his actions. His determination to survive against all odds and attempts on his life kept me reading late into the night. Continuously reminding himself and others to “Stay bricky”, Syms faced the dangers head on and this tale was born!
Available 7 January 2021 from Chicken House Books- so a perfect new year treat!